Opportunity aplenty in a thriving trucking industry

by Susan Ewart

The greatest resource the trucking industry has is its people. As technology moves toward various stages of automation, the people in the industry – the truck drivers, dispatchers, shippers, and administrators – are what keep Saskatchewan and Canada ultimately moving.

Imports and exports, which involve the trucking industry, have a huge impact on the Saskatchewan economy. Total Saskatchewan exports in 2017 were $29 billion. The province ships goods to over 150 countries around the world.

Think of the adage, “If you bought it, a truck brought it.” If it weren’t for the dedicated people in the trucking industry, our lives would look very different.

According to the 2019 Saskatchewan Detailed Occupational Outlook published by the provincial government, transport truck driver is in the Top 3 occupations with the most job openings. Today, there are 3,220 jobs in

Saskatchewan with an estimated annual wage of $63,900. This is an alarming number not only to the Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA) but our current government.

So how does an association like the STA show those in Saskatchewan what great opportunities lie in trucking? The work has started as we develop education, recruitment, and retention strategies for employers, as well as an awareness campaign to change the industry of trucking.

Over the next three years, our association will be working to develop resources and tools employers can use to modernize their existing HR practices by creating a knowledge hub within the STA for both potential employees and employers to use.

It will cover subjects from what it takes to work in trucking, to guidelines on implementing drug and alcohol policies in your workplace.

Our government partners have many resources that most of us probably are not aware of to assist employers with filling the human capital side of the trucking equation through the Labour Market Services Branches. STA staff will continue to work with our partners to ensure members are educated on what is available to them.

In his opinion piece in volume 30, issue 8 of Truck New-West, Terry Shaw of the Manitoba Trucking Association said, “The trucking industry is at a tipping point: as a new, younger generation is poised to take over the seats both literally and metaphorically […]”.

I agree with Terry.

Our challenge now will be to find and attract the next generation.

As an association, and the trucking industry as a whole in Saskatchewan, we need to find ways to attract people who may have never considered trucking as a viable career.

Isn’t it with most careers that a lot of us accidentally stumbled into where we are today? We found something that resonated with us and stuck to it, so here we are, working in trucking?

That’s how I got here.

I find myself constantly impressed with an industry full of driven individuals who are making a difference and doing so while being environmentally-conscious and with great efficiency. I admire those whom I have come to know in the industry who care immensely about what they do and are extremely safety-focused.

The STA is committed to bettering the image of the industry and to dispelling stereotypes and myths about what trucking looks like in Saskatchewan.

I am proud to say that I am one of the 3% of women who work in the trucking industry, although I may not be behind the wheel, I am committed to giving a voice to the industry that so many are passionate about. And that is why, #WeAreTrucking.

Susan Ewart is the executive director of the STA, previously serving as director of insurance services for Hal Insurance, a subsidiary company for the STA. She sat on the board of the Insurance Brokers Association of Saskatchewan, the Regina Women’s Network, and was president of the Regina Association of Insurance Women. Ewart was also the recent recipient of the 2015 Women of Influence for the insurance industry. The first female executive director of the STA, Ewart sees great value in bringing more women into leadership positions in the trucking industry.

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